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Dancing Flowers!

For Grades K–3

© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Table of Contents

Featured Work
New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum

Featured Work

Fernand Léger
(French, 1881–1955)
The Walking Flower, 1951
26 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 15 inches (67.3 x 52.1 x 38.1 cm)
Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1969
Background Information for Educators


  • Students will create a short modern dance piece inspired by Fernand Léger’s The Walking Flower
  • Students will learn about the concept of three-dimensionality
  • Students will learn basic modern dance concepts, including levels of movement and music selection


Modern Dance
Modern dance consists of movements that are often considered freestyle, and refrain from strict movements associated with classical dance styles such as ballet. One of the ways in which modern dance creates visual interest is through the use of three levels: low movements, which are close to the ground; middle movements, which are around the torso; and high movements, which are above the head (as well as jumping, leaping, etc.).


  • Display Slide #11 from the AID PowerPoint and introduce Fernand Léger to your students.
  • A sculpture is three-dimensional—it has height, width, and depth. To demonstrate these, have a student stand in front of the class and show how the student has height, width, and depth.
  • Display Slide #12 and look at Fernand Léger’s The Walking Flower. Ask the students to compare the front and back of the sculpture.
  • Ask the students to find the body parts of The Walking Flower, remembering that the petals and other parts could mean more than one thing (arms, legs, fingers, toes, heart, torso, etc.).


  • Tell the students to stand arm’s length apart in the dance space.
  • Review height by asking the students to reach up with their hands. Then, review width by stretching out their hands to their sides. Lastly, review depth by reaching one arm forward and one arm backward to create as much depth as possible.
  • You are about to conduct a mini modern dance class with your students. Please review the modern dance description before beginning!
  • Ask your students to mimic the flower’s stance and be very still. Ask one of them to choose a movement word that describes the Walking Flower (such as wave or wiggle). Then, ask another student to make a movement with their arms for that word.
  • As a class, ask them to create that movement at different levels. First, make the movement low to the floor. Next, make it around their waist (or torso). Finally, make the movement above their heads. Then, ask students to make the movement in a certain direction; right, left, up, down, forward, backward, etc.
  • Repeat the previous two steps, but with a movement for their feet or legs (hop, etc.).
  • Next, ask them to move as if the flower came to life.
    • What if it was windy?
    • What if they were walking through very deep snow?
    • Kicking a ball?
    • Running on a beach?
    • Swimming in a lake?
    • Holding onto a friend’s hand?
  • Finally, ask the students to take their favorite actions and perform all at once. Ask students what kind of music would go along with the field of flowers.

Optional Additional Activities

  • Have each student create a sculpture—from clay or another material—of a walking flower doing his/her favorite activity. When finished and painted, display all the flowers together.
  • Have each student make a drawing of the The Walking Flower doing his/her favorite activity from the dance. When finished, display them together.

New York State Learning Standards and Core Curriculum

  • New York State Learning Standards for the Arts (Visual Arts and Dance) 1, 2, 3
  • New York State Learning Standard for Math, Science, and Technology 3
  • New York State Learning Standards for Mathematical Practice 2, 4, 7
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language 1, 3
  • College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening 1, 2, 4, 5